Auteurs Unleashed – Vidjagame Apocalypse 431

Only a few big-name game developers are generally seen as “auteurs” — creators with authorial control over (and who get most of the credit for) the games they make. Every so often, one of them strikes out on their own with a bold new project that gets a lot of people excited… and then falls flat on launch. This week, Steve Guntli of Ultra 64 and Wii Universe for a look at five such beautiful disasters, after which we’ll dig into The Ascent, Here Comes Niko!, Street Fighter V’s final character, and your favorite Ghostbusters games.

Question of the Week: Who’s your favorite “auteur”-level game creator?

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7 thoughts on “Auteurs Unleashed – Vidjagame Apocalypse 431

  1. I’ve talked a lot about drakkenguard in previous QotW, but thats probably where my love of Yoko Taro started. Like a lot of his games, its mechanically cumbersome and thematically really unpleasant, but few other game directors manage to create games where the characters feel less like heroes than just protagonists trying to make their way through alien, often melancholy and upsetting worlds.

    In the frakkenguard and nier series, players are often made to step outside of their comfort zones, narratively, and in many cases the games switch genres totally for short periods, which helps add to the scrappy, “throw everything and see what sticks” feel to a lot of his games.

    Theyre almost always partnered with phenominal soundtracks and often feature my hang up of songs written entirely in made up languages, which is also a massive plus.

  2. Amy Hennig and (to a slightly lesser extent) Neil Druckman (Drunkman: The Depressed Superhero) are the closest thing to something I usually don’t pay a lot of attention to. I usually follow developer teams more. However, these two seemed to be the major driving force behind one of my favorite franchises of all time, “Uncharted”.

    Apparently so much of the overall quality, narrative focus, and enjoyability was dependent on them that in their absence the fourth game noticeably suffered. Uncharted 4 was still really, really good; but it failed to achieve the same level of greatness as its predecessors.

  3. I gotta give a shout-out to my boy, Hidetaka Miyazaki. Bloodborne, Dark Souls, Sekiro – the man does not miss. I’ve platinumed nearly every game in this man’s gamesography and loved every minute. Well, to be fair, I’ve never played an Armored Core game. STILL, the worlds he builds paired with gameplay that is tighter than a Gaping Dragon, I have to show my man some love. When I heard he was pairing with another GOAT in his respective field, Mr. George RR Martin, I nearly creamed my Hunter’s Trousers. Elden Ring 2022, babyyy.

  4. It’s quite difficult pick just one auteur. Peter Molyneux made so many of my favourite games when I was young, notably Black and White and Fable meanwhile people like Sakaguchi and Tetsuya Nomura have produced the games that I would consider among my personal top games of all time (Looking at Final Fantasy VII and IX specifically). I think a special shoutout should be made for Naoki Yoshida (aka Yoshi-P) and the work he’s done on Final Fantasy XIV – I recently watched the NoClip documentary on FFXIV after getting into the game myself and seeing how he lead the salvaging and transformation of XIV into the beloved powerhouse it is today I think demonstrates how powerful a strong auteur can be.

  5. QOTW: Has no one said Tim Schafer yet? I’m a fan of the goofy surreal atmosphere of a lot of his games like Psychonauts and Brutal Legend. Sure, the gameplay doesn’t always stick, but his games always have something interesting to bring to the table.

  6. QOTW: Daisuke Ishiwatari, responsible for my favorite fighting game franchise Guilty Gear and sound designer on its younger brother BlazBlue. Ishiwatari took clear inspiration from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure by naming and designing characters loosely around his musical influences. His soundtracks for Guilty Gear are some of the best fighting game scores around.

    I am tickled as a long-time fan to see the attention that Guilty Gear Strive is getting and hope to see more out of Ishiwatari as his vision takes a greater place in the fighting game community as a whole. His character designs are iconic, memorable, and unique within the genre, a great auteur indeed!

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